Korean Grand Prix Race
• Valtteri Bottas finished 12th with Pastor Maldonado 13th in today’s Korean Grand Prix.
• Valtteri drove a consistent race to move up the field, but ultimately did not have the performance to challenge the top ten.
• Pastor had a strong start, moving from 18th to ninth after the first lap, and was fighting for a points finish until the final stint when he was overtaken by cars on newer tyres.
Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: It was a busy first lap with Valtteri losing out in the incidents that happened ahead on track, whilst Pastor was able to gain from them and moved from 18th to ninth. Pastor had a good opening stint but graining on the front-right tyres of both cars was becoming increasingly difficult to manage. We still stayed on target for a two-stop strategy with both cars but after we moved from the supersofts to the mediums for the second stint tyre management was still difficult. Valtteri was able to manage the front-right slightly better because Pastor was pushing harder further up the field and we ultimately had to cut Pastor’s second stint slightly short. We used the two safety car periods to help manage tyre wear to get to the end of the race but we knew it was going to be tough. With more laps on his tyres than those around him, Pastor was unable to defend from Gutiérrez, Perez and Massa in the closing stages. We were close to fighting for points but the car pace unfortunately wasn’t quite good enough.
Valtteri Bottas: I was a bit unlucky with the incident on the first lap as I was blocked and lost a position whereas others were able to make up places. The first stint was difficult as I was struggling with the supersoft tyre, but the pace improved a lot in the second stint on the mediums and the safety cars allowed me to close in on the top ten. In the end it was all about making sure we still had the grip in the tyres to fight for some points in the final laps, but I think 12th was a fair result as the cars that finished ahead of us had better pace all weekend.
Pastor Maldonado: I had a very good first lap, moving up to ninth after an incident at turn three allowed me to make up a lot of places. I tried to maintain my position in the top ten but the safety cars hindered my race today as the cars behind were able to keep closing up behind me, and after the second restart they just had too much pace and were able to overtake. It’s disappointing not to finish in the points but the end result is a fair reflection of our performance this weekend and we need to work hard to find some gains for the race next weekend in Japan.
Laurent Debout, Renault Sport F1 team support leader: A chaotic race but one that almost worked out in our favour. Pastor did a good job to stay clear of the trouble and ran in the top ten for parts of the race. With a bit more luck we could have scored a point, but the conditions were just so unpredictable that it didn’t go our way in the end.